7:00am Saturday 18th January 2014
By Russell Smith
Within the Holy Trinity Church at Ardington a star stood out.
On top of Terry Biddlecombe’s coffin, alongside a wreath of white and maroon flowers, were his racing silks.
They comprised a white jacket with a maroon sash and armlets, and a white cap with a maroon star.
As that star stood out it could hardly have been more appropriate – just as the three-times champion jockey had done on so many occasions during his swashbuckling life.
Around 200 mourners, led by his widow, Henrietta Knight, were at Biddlecombe’s funeral yesterday following his death on January 5, aged 72.
Among them were many of the big names from the racing fraternity, including trainers Nigel Twiston-Davies and Mick Channon.
Jim Culloty, who rode Best Mate to three Cheltenham Gold Cup wins when trained by Knight and Biddlecombe at West Lockinge, had come over from Ireland.
Henrietta Knight at the funeral of her husband Terry Biddlecombe, followed by her sister, Lady Vestey
Former top trainers Barry Hills and Ian Balding were also there along with several jockeys including Dominic Elsworth and Timmy Murphy, plus former top jockey Mick Fitzgerald.
Terry Court, Biddlecombe’s boss during his time at Brightwells Auctioneers, gave a personal tribute in which he described him as having an “amazing personality, terrific zest for life and a cavalier attitude”.
It was Court who reintroduced Biddlecombe to Knight at a sale at Malvern.
“What a team they were,” he said. “What success they achieved and what a fitting name their great horse was called as that is exactly what Hen and Terry were ‘Best Mates’.
“They have been talked about as the odd couple, but to me it has been a fairy-tale.”
At the end of the service, Biddlecombe’s coffin, complete with his silks, was driven away for a private cremation.
The star had gone, but never to be forgotten.
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